The four words Sheffield Wednesday fans are hanging on in Barry Bannan fitness mystery – can be a bonus against Sunderland

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Hillsborough fell near-silent on Saturday when newly-crowned Owls player of the year Barry Bannan fell to the floor holding his hamstring.

The Owls skipper, who has played all but one match of the current League One campaign and leads the way for the club in terms of goal contributions, hobbled out of the clash late on to the anguish of a packed-out home crowd just six days ahead of their play-off first leg trip to Sunderland on Friday.

Bannan received treatment and cut a devastated figure when coming off the field but reemerged after the match for the end of season lap of honour, holding his daughter on his shoulders and seemingly moving relatively freely throughout.

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It was announced on Tuesday that Bannan had earned 70% of the votes for Wednesday’s player of the year award, to go with The Star’s player of the year award he took last week.

In doing so he became only the second Wednesday player in history to retain the official player of the year award he won last season, after Eric Potts did so in 1974/75 and 1975/76.

He is the third man to win the award twice – Keiren Westwood did so in the 2014/15 season and also in 2016/17.

Bannan’s absence would of course come as a massive blow to the Owls, for whom he has scored nine league goals and pocketed 12 assists in an outstanding season.

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Posting on social media after the win booked Wednesday’s place in the play-offs, Bannan said: “What a atmosphere today want to thank you all again amazing play offs secured big performance from the boys again love this team. See you all Friday”

Sheffield Wednesday skipper Barry Bannan.Sheffield Wednesday skipper Barry Bannan.
Sheffield Wednesday skipper Barry Bannan.

And it is the final four words of that message – ‘See you all Friday’ – that hopeful Wednesday supporters are clinging to ahead of one of the biggest matches in recent history.

An update is expected on Bannan’s condition on Thursday afternoon when Darren Moore speaks to the media for his pre-match press conference.

Such is the central role the Scot plays in the team, it may well be that the Owls boss plays his cards close to his chest and create an issue or two in Sunderland’s preparation for the clash.